The Hard Places is a new documentary film profiling the powerful life story of humanitarian and optometrist Tom Little.

Dr. Little worked in Afghanistan for the International Assistance Mission, an organization that provides nearly 90% of all eye-care in the war torn nation. He, his wife and their children endured over three decades there: through Soviet occupation, civil war, Taliban rule and most recently, the U.S. invasion. Despite the constant danger to their mission and their lives, they refused to leave. Tom believed it was his calling to help those who had no options, who were caught up in violent circumstances, whom he saw as fellow human beings in need of love, laughter, and a healing touch. Tom trained native Afghans to become eye doctors, and established numerous clinics throughout the country to treat the thousands of Afghans suffering from vision problems. To the Afghan people, he became affectionately known as “Dr. Tom”.

As a humanitarian, Tom Little cut an unconventional and, at times, controversial path in order to build bridges between Christians and Muslims, East and West, “haves” and “have-nots”. He bucked the traditional stereotypes and persevered through a process of constant adaptation and imagination, shunning bureaucracy, in order to treat the sick, wounded and dying. And when it seemed that every other western family had fled from the warzone, he and his family dug in, choosing the basement of their home in Kabul during the worst days of the civil war, rather than safety of their home in the suburbs of America.

In July of 2010, Tom and a team of fellow aid workers backpacked 120 miles into the remote province of Nuristan at the invitation of village elders to serve a population of nearly 50,000 people without access to medical care. Tom and his team endured great personal risk to treat the never-ending lines of people, many of whom had walked for two days or more to receive care. On August 5th, 2010, as Little and his team were returning to Kabul, they were ambushed and murdered in the wilderness.

In 2011, in recognition of his life’s work and sacrifice, President Obama posthumously awarded Tom Little the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon any U.S. citizen.

This documentary will probe the dangers and challenges involved in a decades-long mission to provide health care in a desperate nation, and reveals the lasting impact and continuing legacy of Tom Little’s work. In addressing the timeless values of service, self-sacrifice and the incredible power of forgiveness, “The Hard Places” will  illuminate how the power of a man’s faith could lead him into the shadow of death, at the risk of his, and even his family’s very existence. Finally, the film  will follow the extraordinary journey of an ordinary man who chose to forsake a life of comfort and security in order to reach out and touch the lives of strangers, literally delivering the gift of sight, in a country that he called one of “The Hard Places.”

8 thoughts on “Documentary

  1. I heard Libby speak here in Sydney last night. I would love to know when the film is released here in Australia!


  2. What an extraordinary person. I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much. He has made an impact on the lives of so many Afghans. I am sorry for his wife’s loss. I hope her faith gives her comfort. I am glad I watched the trailer and look forward to the documentary being released.

  3. I Was Touched by this Documentary Film about Tom’s Unwaving & Selfishless Sacrifice.
    This also inspiring me to document the people in need in the name of GOD.

    May your noble soul rest in Peace in HEaven and May Libby & your Family know that Me & My Wife Hilda Proud of you guys there.

    In Him with Love,

    Raglan Siu
    Hong Kong.

  4. Has the documentary been completed about Tom Little? & if so where can I see it?

  5. Hello,

    I was wondering when your documentary was scheduled to be finished? I’d be very interested as my friend worked with Tom Little.

    Thank you,

  6. How amazing to realize that this man came from a neighboring community! I would love to see the full documentary. Has this been released to our area PBS yet?

  7. I had the privilege of providing optical machinery to Tom; he was a unassuming man of faith; when he appeared at the door of my business with his wife, he told me he was looking for a complete line of equipment to make eyeglasses in Afghanistan; he proceed to tell me to take my time because his plan was; in six months to go back to Kabul; but before I even start to gather machinery to complete his plan; withing a week, I had the complete lab for him; I got it for less that one quart of the normal price!!
    When I shipped the equipment; he called for some things that were stolen on the way. When I asked fi he needed something else; his reply was”he would appreciate if I could go to Kabul to help him set up the lab. I told him that I did not have the faith that he had; to what he told me it’s OK”. He was a very humble man!!

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